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In NYC, fears rise among Filipino families

BY JOAN GRALLA

AND CANDICE FERRETTE

joan.gralla@newsday.com

candice.ferrette@newsday.com

Filipino immigrants in the "Little Manila" section of Queens suffered through another anxious day Saturday, waiting to hear from family and friends in typhoon-devastated parts of the Philippines.

Louella Juele of Astoria said she heard from a relative in Manila that the family home in Iloilo City survived Typhoon Haiyan's wrath -- and is serving as an emergency shelter.

"Our house is now helping 28 to 30 refugees, because the evacuation centers are so full," she said.

But Juele has been unable to get in touch with other relatives. Her texts have gone unanswered.

"There is no reply, so I don't know our help can get to them," she said.

Ernesto Uy of Jackson Heights has been glued to television newscasts and Facebook to stay updated on the catastrophe.

Uy, seeking a better life for his 18-year-old son, Enrikee, brought him to Queens last spring.

Enrikee Uy said he went to work as usual at a cafe Saturday, despite fearing for his family back home.

"My mom is there. I don't have any idea what's happening," the teenager said.

He said she lives with his brother and nephews in Tacloban City on Leyte Island, one of the hardest-hit areas.

To help find missing friends and relatives, the hashtag #YolandaPH is being used on social media to group posts, including photos, videos and news reports.

Manhattan's Philippine Consulate could offer callers little information beyond news reports Saturday.

Eleanor De Leon, wife of Consul General Mario L. De Leon Jr., is fretful, too. She has yet to hear from her parents, brothers, sisters and their families who live in Eastern Samar province, also in the storm's path.

"We have been calling almost every two hours since Thursday night but all the phone lines are down; there's no cell service," Eleanor De Leon said.

Vilma Veres of Brooklyn reached her father, who lives in Manila. But she fears for a friend who owns a bed-and-breakfast in the heavily damaged central Visayas region.

"The area where she lives -- the eye of the storm -- it's like a bull's-eye there," Veres said.

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